October 6 - 12, 2018

Policy Address

Policy priorities: land supply, economic diversification

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has unveiled more than 240 initiatives in her second Policy Address, to address the needs of the different sectors with a view to propelling economic growth and improving people’s livelihood. Key initiatives include developing the high-valued maritime services, expediting re-industrialization, strengthening research capacity, spurring innovation & technology development and easing housing shortage by boosting land supply through reclamation. The government would extend maternity leave for new mothers from the current 10 weeks to 14 weeks, with immediate effect for government employees, and to increase the paternity leave from three to five days. The government is also seeking to legislate for a ban on electronic cigarettes and other new smoking products.

Leaping into re-industralization

The Hong Kong Productivity Council has teamed up with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, to set up the Invention Centre to support enterprises to move up the value chain through innovating smart products and services. Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the center’s opening complements the government’s efforts in promoting re-industrialization and advanced manufacturing. The government has set up a US$256 million Re-industrialization Funding Scheme to subsidize manufacturers to set up smart production lines. New programs were introduced to attract and nurture technology talents to further drive re-industralization.

Impetus for I&T development

New measures in the Policy Address would spur I&T development in Hong Kong, said Secretary for Innovation & Technology Nicholas Yang. These include expediting re-industrialization to set up advanced manufacturing facilities; promoting R&D and technology transfer; building Hong Kong into a smart city, and developing the Greater Bay Area into an international I&T hub to tap unprecedented opportunities. Additional funding will be provided to encourage technology adoption within the government to improve public services and operational efficiency. Artificial intelligence and chatbot functions are on the drawing board to facilitate the use of e-Government services.

Research funding boost to drive I&T goals

Additional research funding of US$2.5 billion to be injected into the Research Endowment Fund, the launch of a new Research Matching Grant Scheme and the introduction of new programs for post-doctoral fellows, and researchers at associate professor and professor ranks, would further propel Hong Kong’s potential as a global innovation and technology center, said Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung. These education initiatives in the 2018 Policy Address will foster a stronger research culture which is conducive to Hong Kong’s development into an international I&T hub.

Business

Number of overseas and Mainland companies continues to grow

Hong Kong has seen a growth in the number of overseas and Mainland Chinese companies operating in the city, reaching 8,754 in 2018, or a 6.4% year-on-year increase. Mainland Chinese companies lead the tally, followed by Japan and the US, according to the latest survey by Invest Hong Kong. By sector, import/export trade, wholesale and retail topped the list (3,950), followed by financing and banking (1,806), and professional, business and education services (1,262).

Innovation & Technology

Hong Kong to promote design thinking

The Hong Kong government has been working with the Hong Kong Design Centre to promote design thinking for problem solving, both within and outside the government, said Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau, at the launch (Oct 6) of the Centre’s 4-year Propelling Design Thinking program. The government has organized design thinking workshops or seminars for over 300 civil servants and is looking to apply design thinking concepts in various initiatives, services and procurement process. It has also sponsored industry players to promote design thinking among youths.

Multi-functional smart lampposts to be installed

Hong Kong will progressively install about 400 multi-functional smart lampposts in the next three years in four urban locations, to enhance the collection of real-time city data, including traffic flow, concentration of pollutants in the air, and improve the 5G and WiFi network coverage. The first 50 smart lampposts are expected to come into operation in Kwun Tong and the Kai Tak Development Area before mid-2019. Such technology could help to enhance quality of living and information garnered could be used for urban planning in the future.

Civil Liberties

Core values of freedom of expression and reporting safeguarded: CE

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has reiterated that freedom of expression, freedom of reporting, are core values in Hong Kong. “As the Chief Executive, I and the HKSAR Government will safeguard all these rights as enshrined in the Basic Law," she added. Responding to media questions on Oct 9, she dismissed the link of the visa row to a recent talk as “pure speculation”. Every act, every case will be dealt with in accordance with the law, the policy and the circumstances, including the facts of the case.

Basic Law

Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems". 

Q: Does the HKSAR enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial powers?

A: Yes. The NPC authorizes the HKSAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial powers, including that of final adjudication. The Chief Executive heads the HKSAR, and the Executive Council, consisting of members appointed by the Chief Executive, assists the Chief Executive in policy making. The legislature, which is constituted by election, enacts legislation, while the judiciary exercises judicial power independently free from interference. (BL Articles 2; 16; 17; 19; 43; 54; 55; 66; 68; 73; 85)

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